Jul 10 2014 3:15pm

Batgirl Gets a New Creative Team and a Rad New Look

Batgirl new look costume photo new creative team Gail Simone DC Comics

Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl has been through a hell of a lot: getting paralyzed and becoming the hacker hero Oracle in 1986, only to get retconned in DC Comics’ New 52 in 2011, regaining the use of her legs. Not to mention her brother being a serial murderer and her family falling apart.

So, DC is giving her a break. Starting with Batgirl #35, we’ll see the lighter, younger, more hipster-y adventures of Barbara Gordon—a redux complete with a whole new creative team and a much more practical (but thrift store-approved) costume.

To clarify: This is a redesign for the retconned Barbara Gordon—meaning that she’s still separate from the Babs who became Oracle after The Killing Joke. Instead, she’s continuing on in her current retcon, with a lighter tone, two new writers, and a new artist.

MTV News spoke with the folks in question: Longtime friends Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are co-writing, their second collaboration after last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Brahman. And in a delightful turn of events, the artist illustrating our new Babs is herself a Babs—newbie artist Babs Tarr.

Batgirl new costume Cameron Stewart Brenden Fletcher Babs Tarr Gail Simone DC Comics

And where is Gail Simone in all this? She’s got a new project with DC that will be announced soon. While she hasn’t released an official statement, she did retweet Batman writer Scott Snyder’s kind words celebrating her run on Batgirl.

Here’s the official synopsis for the new run:

Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes… so when a fire destroys everything she owned, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life—and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl… and discovers all-new threats preying on her peers!

It’s a re-invention of Batgirl from the boots up, by the incredible creative team of Cameron Stewart (Batman Inc.), Brenden Fletcher (Wednesday Comics), and rising star artist Babs Tarr!

While it’s unclear if DC will address gentrification the way Clint Barton’s adventures in Bed-Stuy do in Marvel’s Hawkeye series, we’re nonetheless intrigued by seeing Babs among her peers, as hipster-y as they may seem.

Batgirl new costume hipster Burnside Girls Veronica Mars Sherlock selfie

In fact, Fletcher describes our heroine as a very interesting blend of several modern, much-loved TV series:

Our take on Batgirl mixes the best elements of Veronica Mars and Girls, with a dash of Sherlock thrown in for good measure.

We’re just hoping that her relationship with dad Jim Gordon hews more to Veronica teaming up with her awesome sheriff dad than Hannah Horvath leeching her parents for rent money.

Then again, Fletcher and Stewart have teased that there won’t be an avalanche of DC universe cameos. “Aside from someone with whom Barbara was formerly close,” Stewart says, “and is forced to deal with in an uncomfortable circumstance, it’s a clean break.” So, don’t expect Poison Ivy or Dick Grayson to drop into Burnside anytime soon.

In fact, they’re really stressing the lightness of the series:

She’s leaving it all behind her. We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read.

In continuing both the “leaving it all behind her” and hipster themes, Babs completely revamps her costume, mostly with thrift store finds. Here’s a much more detailed look at Tarr’s design:

Batgirl new costume Cameron Stewart Babs Tarr Brenden Fletcher leather not spandex

Babs, you had us at “leather jacket - NOT spandex!” Stewart and Fletcher also mentioned that their ideal song for Batgirl jumping rooftops is “212” by Azealia Banks, so now that’s stuck in our heads.

This new arc kicks off in Batgirl #35, out October 8.

Photos: DC Comics

1. joelfinkle
I'm reminded a bit of Denis Nedri's Rockabilly Batman, although his Batgirl comes out significantly different.
3. Brandon Johnston
Barbara Gordon wasn't ret-conned. The Killing Joke still happened in the New 52 and was acknowledged in vol. 1 where she suffered from all kinds of ptsd effects. Her paralysis simply wasn't permenant in the new continuum.
Stephen Dunscombe
4. cythraul
But will we still get Alysia Yeoh's Scrabble antics?

Or is the most (?) conspicuous trans* character in comics from the Big Two being benched?
Christopher Bennett
5. ChristopherLBennett
That is a really spiffy costume. Looks very practical, too, except for two things. One, the unattached cowl looks like it could come loose rather easily, not a good thing in an accessory for the secret-identity-conscious. And two, unless that long, flowing hair is a wig (like it was for Babs back in the '60s), it's pretty unwise to go into action with it flying loose like that where bad guys could grab onto it. But then, that's a problem most superheroines have. (Note to Tor readers: although the heroine of my novel Only Superhuman, the Green Blaze, is shown on the cover with her hair flowing lush and free in the middle of death-defying action, there's considerable poetic license there, not the least of which is that her hair's nowhere near that long. Normally she'd at least wear a ponytail into action, or a French braid given more time to prepare.)
6. ShellyS
So, basically, the Steph Brown Batgirl.
7. ohcrapitspanic
The description reminds me of the Marvel's current Hawkeye comic, which is quite fun.
8. RobertX
The boots...are incredibly stupid and impractical for what she does.
Luis Milan
9. LuisMilan
I'm still gonna miss Oracle. I don't know why they had to ret-con one of DC Comic's best female characters.
Lee Anderson
10. DSNiner
@6 That was my feeling also. She's Steph in all but name. They've de-aged her to Steph's age (or a bit older) and given her Steph's attitude. This is as close as Stephanie Brown fans will ever get to an apology from the nitwits running DC... and I'm still not sure I want to accept.
11. KenK
Cellphones are ALWAYS straight in selfies, or ar least they are parallel with the borders of the image they took. Jeez people, it's the little things that show if you are a good artist or a great one.
Christopher Bennett
12. ChristopherLBennett
@11: So who says the raw "photo" wasn't reframed for the cover? Any photo-editing software lets you rotate the image or redraw its borders.

And the phone's only about 4-5 degrees off from the orientation of the borders. Maybe its lens is slightly misaligned?
Terry Lago
13. dulac3
I like the design, but I gotta admit it does look like they're just making Steph-Batgirl and calling her Babs. I'm not up on my DCU continuity...have they de-aged Babs now or something? What the hell for?
Christopher Bennett
14. ChristopherLBennett
@13: A couple of years ago, they rebooted their entire continuity (yet again), restarting at a point where the superheroes had only been active for five years. Although somehow Batman had still managed to go through at least three Robins and Barbara had had her entire career as both Batgirl and Oracle within that mere 5-year span, which makes no sense at all, but was done because Grant Morrison's Batman continuity was too popular to get retconned away along with everything else.
Terry Lago
15. dulac3
@14 Thanks for the update. All I can say is *sigh*
16. KenK
@12 You know what's better than having to explain why something was drawn different than how it should be? Drawing it the way it should be. If it has to be given that much explaination, it should just be drawn right and save everyone the trouble.
Christopher Bennett
17. ChristopherLBennett
@16: Look up "artistic license." Literalism is not the only goal of creativity. Putting the phone at an angle relative to the eye conveys a more loose, insouciant attitude, and it works better aesthetically with the angle of Batgirl's head.
18. KenK
@17 When 'artistic license' pulls me out of the moment, it's no longer a good enough reason. Unless there was some meaning or import being conveyed by the artist's choice it's not license, it's a mistake.
Christopher Bennett
19. ChristopherLBennett
@18: I already suggested a couple of possible aesthetic reasons behind the choice. I mean, it's kind of elementary. Depicting things perfectly upright is not generally an interesting composition.
20. cbb
Sad to see Gail Simone leave the book. She's made it one of the best books since the reboot. I don't really mind the new look, but it doesn't make sense to me. She already has a full-fedged, state-of-the-art bat suit. Why are they going in the opposite direction? What happens to the better suit she already has? Also, as someone else mentioned, her time as Oracle wasn't retconned. It still happened, she spent 3 years in a wheelchair, and just before the New 52's start, she had an experimental surgery that fixed her legs.
Christopher Bennett
21. ChristopherLBennett
@20: I gather the setup is that Barbara's apartment burns down and she loses her possessions. A bit tenuous, sure, but comics have to reinvent themselves from time to time. And this is a terrific costume. Even Supergirl likes it!

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